Tigers to Battle Fort Zumwalt South in State Semifinals

The Festus Tigers are in the Final Four once again, and this time they will have to defeat the Fort Zumwalt South Bulldogs if they want to make it to the State Finals.

The Festus Tigers have had a remarkable season and they are looking to make it to the State Championship game for the second straight year. They have a tough task ahead of them though, and that task comes in the form of the 27-6-1 Fort Zumwalt South Bulldogs.

Festus won their last three games of the regular season, breezed through the Class 5 District Tournament  and then won their first game of the State Tournament last week with a convincing 10-0 drubbing of the Clayton Greyhounds. So it’s safe to say that this team is clicking at the right time, but they will have their hands full with this Bulldogs squad.

Zumwalt has also won their last seven straight games, and these two teams have mirrored their paths on the way to the State Final Four. The Tigers are going to have to find a way to contain Connor Mendell and Evan Fullhorst in the heart of a dangerous lineup. Both can hit for average and power and are lethal on the base paths as well. The key to quieting this potent offense goes through them.

Festus will also likely have to deal with South’s top hurlers in Connor Henke and Carter Cox. Henke is 6-1 with a microscopic 0.56 ERA this season and has allowed just four earned runs all year. Cox is no slouch either as the flame thrower of the staff. He’s undefeated at 6-0, boasts a 2.09 ERA and has 87 Ks in 53.2 innings pitched.

If the Tigers offense is going to find a chink in the armor, they’re going to need to rely on their big hitters. That means they are going to have to lean heavily on the heart of their order. Slugger Hayden Bates (who leads the team in home runs with seven) will need to get things going, and the trio of Brady Nolen, Tyler Bizzle and Mason Schirmer, who have all had fantastic offensive seasons, need to be overtly involved as well.

Festus will likely look to Nate Moore once again on the mound after he threw a complete-game no-hitter against Clayton in the opening round of the tournament, but they also have stellar arms in Schirmer, Brayden Montgomery and Cole Skaggs as well. Plus Trenton Young is a true weapon out of the pen with four saves on the year.

This Tigers club is balanced, loaded and dangerous, so they should be able to handle any opponent. Still, baseball is a fickle mistress and you never know how the worm is going to turn.

Hopefully Festus continues to fire on all cylinders and heads to their second straight State Championship final. We’re certainly pulling for them here at Ameritime Sports.

First pitch is Friday at 10 am.

Good luck Tigers! Tigers to Battle Fort Zumwalt South in State Semifinals

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